Feed Me Weird Things presents: Josephine Foster // Tekla Peterson

Wed, Mar 27 at 8pm

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A “Vibrating Voice to Shake the Soul”-NPR

Josephine Foster is a Colorado singer-songwriter and composer whose “music plays games with our ideas of time and space” says The GuardianThe Nashville Scene describes her work a”fusion of art song and American folk music” and the former opera student is “known to breathe new life into archaic forms, embodying the cultural archaeology of Harry Smith’s old weird America, and has lent her characteristic warbling mezzo-soprano and interpretive wit to over two decades of recordings” writes Blank Forms.

Josephine has released some twenty albums, each a sui generes song cycle drawn from her own singular songbook, performed solo or leading various ensembles (occasionally under band guises: Mendrugo, the Supposed, Born Heller.)  Peripheral but not insignificant are her unorthodox arrangements of 19th century German Lieder, the folkloric collection of Lorca, or her musical settings of Dickinson and other poets. Foster is a poet herself, as well as visual artist.

On stage or in recording she collaborates with free players from folk and avant-garde, such as Michael Hurley, Keiji Heino, Gyða Valtýsdóttir, Sonny Simmons, Paz Lenchantin, The Cherry Blossoms, Victor Herrero, Jason Ajemian, The Master Musicians of Joujouka, Daniel Blumberg, Shahzad Ismaily, Heather Trost, Chris Scruggs, Lorena Alvarez, Moon Bros, Alex Neilson, Ed Askew, Susan Alcorn, Michael Zerang, Lori Goldston, Brian Goodman, Eric Chenaux, Louis Landes Levi, David Pajo, Alasdair Roberts, Victoria Williams, Hamza el Fasiki, Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh, Les Fils du Détroit, Kath Bloom, and Zoh Amba.

A nomadic spirit living between the US and Spain Josephine performs at venues such as Cafe Oto, Zebulon, MoMA PS1, Constellation, Issue Project Room, Museu Nacional de Arte Contempornea, Tangier American Legation Museum, Paradiso, Tonic, Arkaoda, Chicago Cultural Center, Les Instants Chavirés, Beirut Art Center, Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, EMPAC, Trans-Pecos, Barbican, Monasterio de Santa Maria de las Cuevas, Troubadour, Andy Warhol Museum, ZDB, Palazzo Biscari, Trinosophes,ODA, Musée national Eugène Delacroix, Brown’s Diner.

Some past festival appearances include Big Ears, Le Guess Who?, London Contemporary Music Festival, Donau, ArthurFest, Liverpool Biennal, ATP, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Etcetera, KRAAK, Million Tongues, Counterflows, Stockholm New Music Festival, Suoni per il Populi, Incubate, Green Man, Platform, Serralves, Mimi.

On her latest solo offering Domestic Sphere, Josephine performs solely with her electric guitar and then subverts the usual range of her voice to embody other frequencies and sounds beyond the surface layer of the songs .

Godmother (Fire) and Spellbinder (Takuroku) are two recent solo records that brought front and center for the first time Josephine’s own synth arrangements.  Mystery Meet and What is it that ever was? , collections of improvised song experiments released as CD-R’s in 2006, are now available in their first vinyl pressings on Feeding Tube records.

"Tekla Peterson is the new pop-oriented solo project helmed by Wisconsin's Taralie Peterson. Peterson has been a member of Spires That In the Sunset Rise since their founding in 2001. Most recently a duo with Ka Baird, Spires has a sound that began deeply rooted in underground folk music, but evolved into a much more overtly jazzoid space. We released their 2017 collaboration LP with Chicago percussionist Michael ZerangIllinois Glossalia (FTR 285LP). But Peterson has always had solo projects going. First she had Tar Pet, an exceedingly fine exploration of so-called wyrd folk. Later there was more avant/jazz-oriented, Louise Bock, with whom we did a 2017 solo LP, Repetitives in Illocality (FTR 374LP) and 2021's All Summer Long Is Gone (FTR 382LP) — a duo album with string wizard, Pat 'PG Six' Gubler.

More recently we have been introduced to a 'pop' persona, Tekla Peterson, who debuted with a 2022 cassette called Heart PressHeart Press was created in reaction to the end of a long personal relationship, and is a cool, uneasy pairing of contempo-pop readymades and lyrics questioning some foundational aspects of romance. Mine to Give is Tekla's similarly-styled, though constantly evolving, sophomore effort. Assisted by Rob Jacobs on bass and beats, Peterson's vocals, keys, bass and sax are up front at all times, and do a massively fine job defining a musical/emotional space that is simultaneously pop-oriented and avant-garde. The songs and arrangements often have a surface feel akin to something you'd hear on commercial radio, but there are lots of strange experimental textures and techniques that enliven, enrich and transform the material into something that is transcendently 'other.' Parts sound a bit like what I imagine Taylor Swift has going. Inside those walls you'll hear echoes of acid folk, avant-jazz and post-industrial compositions, but only if you pay careful attention. As with other female artists who began their journey in the sub-underground and kept going (Natalie Mering's Weyes BloodMeg Remy's U.S. Girls), Peterson creates deeply coded music with enough surface sheen to keep slow pokes from ever perceiving what's going on in the depths. The spelunker's pay-off. Great stuff." —Byron Coley, 2024

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